What’s The Fuss About Gut Health?
Having good gut health is gaining more media attention as its importance rises. So the question is, why is our intestinal health so compromised in the first place?
After a bit of searching I came across an article about the abusive use of antibiotics in our meats. In fact, close to half of the meat we buy and consume from supermarkets has been tampered with with one kind of antibiotic or another.
Abusive Use of Antibiotics in Agriculture
Agriculture uses 80% of all antibiotics use in the US with the CDC reporting 22% of human antibiotic resistance being linked to the foods we consume. (In Europe, the use of antibiotics for agriculture has been banned for years).
“The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said that the report shows that drug-resistant hazards in the food supply pose a serious threat to public health. One-third of the 12 resistant pathogens that CDC categorized as a ‘serious’ threat to public health are found in food.”
The Rise of Superbugs
The rise of the superbug MRSA is also linked with contaminated meats, especially pork.
Antibiotics are used to fatten cattle, increase growth and combat diseases that are often prevalent in closed, unsanitary and cramped quarters. The more you can pack animals into a space, the more money you save and make; but it also increases the likelihood of illnesses spreading, hence the antibiotics.
Antibiotics are placed into the animal’s food (and not very healthy foods at that) and seeps into the meat of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and other livestock; which in turn we consume when we purchase the meats with no knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes.
Our intestines start to suffer as the imbalances created by these antibiotics starts to affect the good bacteria in our gut. An invasion starts to manifest itself with the bad bacteria gaining ground and the good bacteria retreating.
What Bad Gut Health Means
Bad gut health has been linked to memory loss in elderly people, depression, mood swings, diabetes, celeriac disease, weight gain and an inability to process what we eat properly. Long term it can have devastating effects, especially when we combine the tainted meats with a high consumption of processed foods.
What can you do?
Actively seek out meats that are organic, grain fed, free range and antibiotics free. The saying “you are what you eat” has never been so pertinent. Look for locally produced meats or farmers near you (you can also find small high quality suppliers online) that have healthily farmed meats and vegetables; visit local markets and speak to people in health food stores that will point you in the right direction.
It only takes a little trial and error to begin with until you find sources that you can trust but it is well worth the effort.
The Increasing Importance for Our Gut Health
Researchers at Oregon State University point out the close links between your gut health and a wide range of health issues.14 As noted in the university press release:
“Problems ranging from autoimmune disease to clinical depression and simple obesity may in fact be linked to immune dysfunction that begins with a ‘failure to communicate’ in the human gut, the scientists say. Health care of the future may include personalized diagnosis of an individual’s ‘microbiome’ to determine what prebiotics or probiotics are needed to provide balance.
Appropriate sanitation such as clean water and sewers are good. But some erroneous lessons in health care may need to be unlearned—leaving behind the fear of dirt, the love of antimicrobial cleansers, and the outdated notion that an antibiotic is always a good idea. We live in a world of ‘germs’ and many of them are good for us.
An emerging theory of disease, [Dr. Natalia] Shulzhenko said, is a disruption in the ‘crosstalk’ between the microbes in the human gut and other cells involved in the immune system and metabolic processes. ‘In a healthy person, these microbes in the gut stimulate the immune system as needed, and it in turn talks back,’ Shulzhenko said. ‘There’s an increasing disruption of these microbes from modern lifestyle, diet, overuse of antibiotics and other issues. With that disruption, the conversation is breaking down.’”
Increase Your Probiotic Intake – But Select Wisely
No doubt food and beverage companies will jump on the bandwagon and start churning out drinks and foods full of ‘probiotic goodness’ sold at a store in you.
Unfortunately, many of these products are so massed produce that it has lost the living organisms to make a difference to your gut, not to mention all the added sugars companies use to satisfy your sweet cravings. So you end up buying a sugary drink that makes your gut worse as bad gut bacteria feeds off sugar.
The best way is to make your own good gut floral enhancing probiotic drink. Here on this blog we have covered how to make your own kombucha tea with a nice healthy living SCOBY, but you can also try the Indian yogurt drink lassi, or another yogurt drink kefir. The Japanese have yakult, miso soup and natto; the Germans have their sauerkraut and there are always ways to make your own fermented vegetables.
In other words. there are no excuses. So stop being lazy and start searching and making your own gut healthy foods!
- Fermented Foods, Aging and Being Over Weight (makingkombuchatea.wordpress.com)